Hello there, blogworld!  Hope this errant post doesn’t take you too much by surprise.  It’s just that, well,  I got stuff, you know?  Sometimes life is just too much.  And sometimes the stuff kinda builds up, and it has to spill over somewhere.  I wish this post were happy.  It is, however, cautiously optimistic.  So there’s that.

I got into blogging years ago for no apparent reason – just another outlet for another chick with something to say and no real place to say it.  Then I “Twittered.”  Then I found the mind-and-time suck that is Facebook.  A lot of good comes from social media.  And a lot of bad.  I’ve seen friendships broken and friendships mended.  I’ve seen life enter and exit the world.  And I’ve made some dear, dear friends.  Which brings me to the point of this post, and it’s short & sweet.

You guys know Kate.  If you don’t, you should get to know her.  She’s one of the best writers out there, imo.  She was one of my first readers, and has become one of my dearest online friends.  And she is very, very ill. Her story is beyond frightening*. Please, please, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

That’s it.  Just pray.  Love to all of you.

(*You can read her story, in her words, by clicking on the link to her post above.)

…impressed.

Whoa.  I am so freakin’ impressed.  I mean really, I am.  (I’m sure you are, too, that I have obviously NOT forgotten how to log into WordPress and actually write something, but that’s another discussion for another time.)  Because right now, folks, I’m just damned impressed.

Impressed, you say? How so, you say?  Well, I just found out how easy it is to buy gift cards at www.snapgifts.com. I’m serious! (This is not spam, kids.  It’s really me posting!)  I cannot believe how easy it is to purchase gift cards for anyone, anywhere.

Snapgifts has cards for everyone.  Everywhere.  The site is incredibly easy to navigate.  Cards are categorized by major city or national brands, and then are categorized within smaller categories — so, f’rinstance, if you want a gift card for Five Guys burgers, you can find it among the national brands.  Likewise, if you want a card for a restaurant specific to a particular city, there’s a good likelihood that you’ll find it as well.  And it’s not just restaurants –there are hundreds–over 600, actually — of different cards to choose from – iTunes, AMC Theaters, bookstores, to name a few.  Gift cards are available via e-mail or in the good old plastic variety, and e-cards are delivered the same day — so imagine the lift you could give someone who’s having a bad day (or just needs lunch!).

So look.  No one is twisting your arm.  But you gotta check this site out.  Not just for Christmas (although they are offering free shipping during December), but for year-round use.   Oh, and BONUS.  The cards don’t expire!

Go take a look.  I promise you’ll be impressed.  I am.

It didn’t have to happen like this.  Certain bloggers, attempting to remove themselves from the blogging world, didn’t have to concoct a story.  Certain bloggers attempting to distance themselves from the blogosphere didn’t have to devise a  plan to rid themselves of the pesky folks that dared to befriend them.  Certain bloggers did not have to invent their own death just to be rid of us.

You know who you are.  Two years ago, you led us to believe you were ill.  Two years ago, you led us to believe you took a turn for the worst.  Two years ago, you led us to believe you died.  And two years ago, you led us to grieve.

Why?  Why do that to a bunch of well-meaning but obviously naive-as-hell strangers?  Bloggers drop out of the loop all the time.  None of us is so important that the blogworld will fall apart if we simply disappear.

The folks at the Metafilter boards pegged you.  No obituary. No evidence.  They questioned our motives – wondered if we weren’t trying to raise money.  They poked fun at our naivety.  We defended ourselves.

What’s worse, we defended you.

At some point, I did start to doubt. But then I got the e-mail from your son.  He thanked me for my concern and wanted me to pass those same thanks along to everyone else.

Your Classmates profile has recently been sent to several of us.  Additionally, those of us who tried to contact the sender via e-mail have found themselves blocked and the site now password-protected.

In the end, you got what you set out to get.

We are out of your life.

DISCLAIMER:

There is a possibility, which is waning with each e-mail and comment I receive, that this is all some sort of a concoction created by those who tried to prove us wrong to begin with, and that what we reported to have happened two years ago really did.  The disgusting fact that that possibility exists at all is enough to make me physically ill.  At any rate, we were duped, one way or the other, and I’m not sure which one is worse.   What I am sure of is that my faith in humanity has died a bit as a result of this experience.

Fazio9/11. Firefighters standing, heads bowed, in remembrance. Tributes. The ringing of bells. Moments of silence. Church services.

All of these are ways I’ve seen and heard in our quest to never, ever forget 9/11.

There’s one more.  It’s the 2,996 Project.  This is something I have participated in for the past few years, and it is so wonderful to be a part of it.  There were 2,996 people – fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends, grandparents, partners – that perished on that fateful day.  2,996 people who should never be forgotten.

I have the honor once again of introducing you, by way of tribute, to one of those victims.

His name is Vincent DiFazio.

A man, who by all accounts was a wonderful father, friend, dad.  A man who had a great sense of humor.   A dedicated coach.  In fact, at a memorial mass for him, many of the mourners were boys and girls, dressed in the various uniforms of the teams he coached.  “When he wasn’t going to a game or home watching a game he was coaching a game,” said Pattie, his wife.

As quoted from people who knew and loved him:

From his daughter, Gina: “My Dad was the coolest guy around. He worked so hard but would never fail to make me smile. Everything is different without him. I miss your laugh dad and your smile. Whenever i laugh i think of you. NOBODY makes me laugh quite like you did. I love you Dad with ALL OF MY HEART”

“Vinny could bring a smile to anyone’s face,” said his mother, Frances Di Fazio. “He saw the humor in everything and everybody.”

Others who knew and loved him said:

“I remember Vinnie to be so very popular in high school. Such a terrific sense of humor and always upbeat.”

“Vinnie always made us laugh. He was so generous and so easy to be around. There was nothing fake about Vinnie; he was for real.”

“Mr. Difazio was probably one of the greatest dads.”

A man who had such a sense of humor that his mother thought he was “joking around again” on Sept. 11,when he called her from his office at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center at 8:55 a.m. and said: “We’ve been bombed again. I’m going to try to get out, like last time.”

He wasn’t joking.  And he didn’t get out.

In addition to his mother, wife and children, Mr. Di Fazio was survived by two sisters, a brother, and 12 nieces and nephews.

I never knew this man, this Vincent DiFazio. I know now that he was 43, from Hampton, New Jersey. I know that he was a government bonds broker at Cantor Fitzgerald. Most importantly, I know that he was a father, a husband, and a victim of 9/11.

In this 2996 tribute, I am honored to pay tribute to this man, and to the 2,995 other victims of 9/11. Rest in peace, Vincent DiFazio.

“He was an unforgettable character,” his mother said.  Darn right he was.  I never met the man, yet I’ll never, ever forget him.  Or any of them.

Never forget.

[Source:  http://www.legacy.com/Sept11/Story.aspx?PersonID=133601]

For the past few years, I have participated in an incredibly fulfilling project spearheaded by Dale Challener Roe.  It’s called “Remembering the 2,996,” and it involves paying tribute, on September 11, to the 2,996 people who died on that day.  Some of you may have read my tribute to Vincent DiFazio in the past, and I’m thankful that I’m getting that opportunity again.

And here’s where YOU come in.  We need more tributes.  We need more volunteers.   If you feel compelled to be a part of this powerful project, please click this link and follow it to the 2996 site.  There you can read all about the project and sign up as a 2009 participant.  You’ll be provided the name of a victim (or you may request a certain person), and you will also be provided links to other sites that can get you started.  Then, on September 11, you will take all the information you have gathered and post your tribute.    You can post it to your blog or, if you don’t maintain a blog, Mr. Roe has created a website to record all the tributes.

It is a privilege to help keep this tradition going.  I hope that you will consider participating.  You won’t regret it.

I just let two really, really important birfdays pass with nary a word.  I mean, I know I’ve neglected many birthdays this year, but this? This is unimaginable.  UnTHINKable.  My favorite bloggy couple, Biff & Tiff (who met via the innernets, by the way and who made it legal this past January), both had May birthdays, and darn if I didn’t let both of them go by without acknowledging them.

That, my friends, is how bad I suck.

If you are so inclined, please help me make it up to them by dropping by their respective sites and wishing them well.  And offering them your sympathies for their choice in friends.

Sigh.

Interesting things can happen when your dog dies.

You all know about Champ. We miss him terribly.  But I don’t think the humans in the family miss him as much as Lucky, our black lab, does.  She’s miserable.  And she needs a buddy.  We weren’t ready to invest the time (and certainly the emotion) into getting another dog already, but we’re worried about Lucky.  So, it’s been tentative.  We look, we stop, we grieve a little. We look some more.

Friday, Mr. Nerd decided to stop at a home near where we live.  There had been a hand-lettered sign advertising AKC registered German Shepherd puppies.  So he figured he’d take a look.

And here, folks, is where the story gets interesting.

Mr. Nerd pulled into the driveway, where he was motioned where to park by a woman at the front door.  He approached the house.  The woman apparently (ha!) knew what he was there for.  She told him to come in.  He followed her in.  As soon as they got inside the house, she locked and deadbolted the door.  At that point, Mr. Nerd just wrote that off as her being alone at home and being cautious.  (Yeah.  With a strange man.  What-EVER.)  She proceeded down the hall.  Mr. Nerd hesitated, but given that the puppies were new, he assumed they were in a box in a bedroom.  Mmm hmmmm.

They entered the bedroom.  Mr. Nerd stood in the doorway, looking around for the puppies.  PuppyMama turned and sat on the bed.

Smiled.

Reached over and closed the blinds.

Did you catch that?  REACHED OVER AND CLOSED THE BLINDS.

Mr. Nerd retreated.  PuppyMama said, “You’re not nervous, are you?”

Mr. Nerd steeled himself, looked her dead in the eye, and said, “I am here. To. Look. At. The. Puppies.”

PuppyMama answers, “Oh.  They’re outside.”  She left the room, followed by a shaken Mr. Nerd.

“We have three females and one male left.  What’s your name, by the way?”

Mr. Nerd gave her a fake name and proceeded toward his truck.

“I’ll be in touch.”

Yeah. Right.

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